In our July issue, we reported on the new initiative, Community Right to Build. This will allow community-led small scale development in villages and towns to go ahead without the formalities of a local authority planning consent. Details of the scheme will be given in the much anticipated Decentralisation and Localism Bill, which we think is due later in the autumn.

In the meantime, the proposals have attracted much comment, some favourable and some critical. One of the main focuses for criticism was the high threshold of 80-90 per cent approval required in a local referendum for any scheme to go forward. The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has now announced that this threshold should be reduced to 75 per cent - which is still a high hurdle to get over.

We are keeping a watching brief on this potentially radical departure from the conventional planning process for approving new development and will bring you further information in future editions of Newsbites.